La Mesa Dam level at 12-year low

The water level in La Mesa Dam reached its lowest in 12 years on Friday and may go down to its critical level of 69 meters in the next two days in the latest sign of the worsening El Niño phenomenon.

La Mesa Dam level at 12-year low
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN. Jun Nuñez, head wortks controller (inset) changes the numbers to properly reflect the water level at the La Mesa Dam which is now at a low level following the scorching heat of the tropical sun, not helped any by the threatening El Nino phenomenon. Manny Palmero
The state weather bureau’s dam monitoring section said that as of 6 a.m. Friday, La Mesa Dam’s water level was at 69.16 meters, 7 meters lower compared to the same period last year.

READ: Avert water shortage, use supply wisely—MWSS

Meanwhile, the water level of Angat Dam, which supplies 97 percent of water in Metro Manila, is at 201.75 meters―still over its critical level of 180 meters, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration said.

Manila Water earlier said increased water demand of around 1.7 billion liters per day as a cause of the decreasing water level.]

READ: Manila Water limits supply

Also, San Jose town in Occidental Mindoro province is now under a state of calamity, as 11 island villages and 17 agricultural villages in the area continue to experience severe drought. 

According to Jojo Santiago, one of the farmers in San Jose, it has become difficult for them to get water after their well dried out.

“Our well dried up. We have another source of water supply but it is starting to dry up, too,” Santiago told UNTV News.

In another development, grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines has placed the Luzon Grid under yellow alert for several hours on Friday, the third consecutive day it has advised that the grid is suffering from low reserves.

The company said it declared a yellow alert from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then again at 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

“This is due to insufficient operating reserve. Yellow Alert means that the reserve power is low,” the company said.

Municipal Agriculturist Rommel Calingasan said they experienced El Niño too early this year, and that they usually experienced it in April and May.

READ: Agriculture prepares to cushion El Niño

“We already felt the drought in January. Our farmers already felt their irrigation supply weakening, and at the same time the water current in our rivers slowed down as well,” Calingasan said.

Over 4,000 farmers in San Jose are affected by El Niño with over 1,300 hectares of farmland destroyed. The total damage cost over P55 million.

“It is too hot, we already requested for cloud seeding. Unfortunately, during evaluation there is no possible source of clouds to start the process.”

Zamboanga was the first city that was put under a state of calamity due to severe drought.

Water production in the area has already decreased by 50 percent with 600 hectares of the farmlands affected.

Meanwhile, the local government allotted P13 million for mitigating measures including cloud seeding operations, the rental of tankers for water distribution, the purchase of alternative crops, drilling rigs for farmers and others. 

READ: El Niño impact heats up early, drought in 22 provinces seen​

Topics: La Mesa Dam , El Niño phenomenon , Angat Dam , Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration
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